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October 22, 2009
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The Monster in the Cellar by M0AI The Monster in the Cellar by M0AI
Click download to see this image at 100% resolution!

To explain this image properly requires an annoying amount of links.

First of all, I have the honor of being a member of an awesome blog called Creature Spot [link] . It's a collective blog of some of the best creature designers in the fields of illustration and concept art. Recently, we've been experimenting with monthly themes, in which the artists of the blog each post their own interpretation of a certain theme, if they want to. The theme was September was to draw, or redesign, a monster from an old pulp magazine called Strange Tales. I did a terrible job of sticking to the theme; I painted this in October, and it turns out it's from a different magazine, Tales of Suspense!
This faintly ridiculous being is from a tale called "The Monster in my Cellar." The image I was working from to create this can be found here: [link] . Later, doing research, I found out that the image I'd been working from was a completely inaccurate rendition of the original monster from the story. The image I worked from shows the monster as a cyclops action figure with a lizard tail, while the original is much more lizard-like in overall form. Look here: [link] .

Another thing about this painting that might interest you is that I painted almost all of it live, recording it onto Livestream dot com. I had a great time chatting with my Deviantart and Facebook friends while painting this. If you're interested, you can watch recordings of these sessions. I warn you, though, that it's fragmented into many smaller videos, and each video has some dead spots where I'm just chatting and not painting (the chat part is not recorded, so it just appears that I'm doing nothing).
If ya still wanna watch, here's a link to my Livestream channel: [link] .

I was originally going to give this guy the full Moai treatment and write a story to accompany it. However, though several ideas and images popped into my head, no story solidified, so I present it to you storyless.
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:iconbinaryrobot:
Binaryrobot Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Cool
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:iconhyruleunicorn:
HyruleUnicorn Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
LOVE the texture and length of the tail (8
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconhyruleunicorn:
HyruleUnicorn Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're so welcome! Do you create your own textures?
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
For this one, yeah, I just painted the textures right onto him. Sometimes I use photo textures, but usually for environments and manmade surfaces, not creatures.
Reply
:iconhyruleunicorn:
HyruleUnicorn Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ah. Well that's awesome 8D
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:iconbensen-daniel:
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2009
Sorry it took me so long to comment on this. I love the tail and the body outline. This looks like something that would be comfortable one four or two legs, and I like how its spine seems to start nearly horizontal at the hips, then curve to the vertical to hold up the shoulders. Very cool. The head is the only part that looks silly to me. It doesn't match the sleekness of the rest of the animal, and the mouth doesn't look big enough to eat me (and that is a problem).
The hands, shoulders, and neck, though, are excellent. It looks both powerful and animal-like.

One question---why, with so much detail on the muscles of the shoulders and chest, is the belly so smooth?
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the comments, Daniel! In defense of the head (though your comments are perfectly valid), the silliness is somewhat deliberate. He's a bug-eyed, big-brained pulp monster, so so some silliness is inevitable, even desireable. Your point about the head not matching the sleekness of the rest of the body is something that concerns me more.

As for your point about his mouth not being big enough to eat you, you misjudge the poor beast! He's not some boorish ruffian who'll try to devour you whole. No, he's a gentlemanly mutant, who'll carve you up into neat chunks with a knife and fork--or, lacking those utensils, his claws--and wash you down with a sip of fine aged whiskey.

But seriously, though, your words have given me some points to think about for a possible redesign of the head. I still have a nebulous embryo of a story that needs to go with him; perhaps I'll post that along with an updated version of this design.

As for the belly, there are a few possible answers that I can give you. Firstly, as a purely physical explanation, his pose causes the skin of his belly to be stretched more tightly than on the rest of his body, smoothing out the texture. Secondly, as a matter of composition, it's good to have areas of higher and lower detail and texture, so that the eye with have both places to search and places to rest. Thirdly, the belly is not as important an area of the painting as the head or the pectoral musclulature, so less detail was necessary.
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:iconbensen-daniel:
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2009
I do eventually get to the paintings I want to comment on.

I see your point about the conflict here between realism (this is a product of evolution), horror (this is a product of your DARKEST NIGHTMARES), and self referential humor (this is a product of the gee-whiz 1950s!). Actually, I think a backstory WOULD clear up that conflict. Where is this guy from? What does he do? Then it should be clearer what form he should assume.

Not being detailed everywhere: Huh. I never thought of that. That's a very good point, though. Make fewer details where you don't want people to look. Cool.

I'm glad this guy's such a gentleman. But, I think you forgot the monocle :)
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
When one has but one eye, it takes a true sense of cultured sophistication to tell the difference between glasses and a monocle.

Fewer details is just one of many strategies you can use to guide the eye around a painting. Value contrast and color saturation and temperature are other things to consider.
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:iconbensen-daniel:
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2009
thanks
Reply
:iconmetalsnail:
MetalSnail Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great pose and physique on this guy!
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thankee!
Reply
:iconscottpurdy:
ScottPurdy Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2009   Digital Artist
I flippin' well love the lighting and subtle textures on this guy!:)
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, Scott! Those are precisely the things I like about this piece as well!
Reply
:iconscottpurdy:
ScottPurdy Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2009   Digital Artist
Yeah you leveled up eh! :)
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
:)
Reply
:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2009  Student General Artist
did you put a lot of wrinkly skin texture on at the end?

thanks again for livestreaming this! it was great to have lots of time to absorb the process :)
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Those skin textures were actually already there when you joined me for the last session. You probably just didn't see them due to the low resolution and the quality of the video.

Thanks for keeping me company while I painted it!
Reply
:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2009  Student General Artist
Can't believe I forgot to 'collect' this! Yeah, I didn't realize the quality was bad though at the time .. the major elements of this piece carried through really well, which I think speaks good of it!

Thanks again for indulging some of my questions too .. I've spent a lot of time thinking about what you said.
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
:)
Reply
:iconcommander-salamander:
commander-salamander Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
He still wants my eggs Moai, and I'm not sure I want to give them to him.

Loving the musculature around the shoulders and chest!
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, salamander!
I'm sure you can appease him with some cake, if you're set on being so darn stingy with your eggs.
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:iconcommander-salamander:
commander-salamander Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Boy I hope this works...:iconcakeplz:
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
The creature hesitates. Deep within the primeval caverns behind the heavy walls of its chimaeric skull, a shadow of a glimmer of a thought rumbles amongst the coolly quivering axons of its unfathomable mind.
That's a funny lookin' egg.
Reply
:iconkingacer:
kingacer Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2009
Looks awesome!
I've looked at your livestreams. Unfortunatly not live though, I always miss those :(
But it's always fun looking at how an artist works on his art.
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Well, I usually do them from about 10 pm to 1 am, Pacific Time, if that helps you. That's probably early in the morning where you are, I guess.
Thanks!
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:iconpositivedope:
PositiveDope Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2009
gosh! that's awesome!!!
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconshovel-genocide:
Shovel-Genocide Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
tl;dr

Love it.
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
That's okay, you didn't miss much.
Thanks!
Reply
:iconviergacht:
Viergacht Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2009  Professional General Artist
That's a terrific critter, and sounds like a very fun site. I like the convincing blend of reptile and human anatomy.
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you, viergacht! It was fun having you around for part of it.:)
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